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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA’s new nuclear power construction is not working out

nukes-sad-Flag-USAPromises of easier nuclear construction fall short, Tri City Herald,  BY RAY HENRY Associated Press July 26, 2014 WAYNESBORO, GA.   The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.

So far, it’s not working.

Quality and cost problems have cropped up again, raising questions about whether nuclear power will ever be able to compete with other electricity sources. The first two reactors built after a 16-year lull, Southern Co.’s Vogtle plant in Georgia and SCANA Corp.’s VC Summer plant in South Carolina, are being assembled in large modules. Large chunks of the modules are built off-site, in an effort to improve quality and avoid the chronic cost overruns that all but killed the nuclear industry when the first wave of plants was being built in the 1960s and 1970s.

Analysts say engineers created designs that were hard or impossible to make, according to interviews and regulatory filings reviewed by The Associated Press. The factory in Louisiana that constructed the prefabricated sections struggled to meet strict quality rules. Utility companies got early warnings but proved unable to avoid the problems. Now the firms leading the project are phasing out the Louisiana factory for work on the biggest modules and contracting with new manufacturers………

Inspectors for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission halted their first review of the plant the following month, saying it was not ready for in-depth scrutiny. Follow-up inspections found more issues with the plant’s quality assurance programs. NRC officials proposed a $36,400 fine against The Shaw Group for firing a quality insurance supervisor elsewhere in its company who warned a potentially faulty part may have been shipped to a project in New Mexico. The fine was dropped after the company agreed to changes. The agency also said workers at the Lake Charles facility feared raising safety and quality concerns to their supervisors………http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/07/26/3079384/promises-of-easier-nuclear-construction.html?sp=/99/915/

July 28, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Delaware residents to get iodine tablets just in case of nuclear [power accident

potassium-iodate-pillsDel. distributing radiation protection tablets http://newsok.com/del.-distributing-radiation-protection-tablets/article/feed/715584 July 26, 2014  MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP) — Officials say they’ll be distributing free potassium iodide tablets to Delaware residents who live within 10 miles of the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

 The tablets will be distributed Thursday and Aug. 28 at two locations in Middleton. Officials say the tablets can protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine, which a plant may release in an emergency. Evacuation is the primary way Delaware residents would get out of harm’s way in an emergency, but the tablets offer additional protection.

If a radiation emergency were to occur, officials would inform the public through the use of emergency alert system radio stations. The information would include evacuation instructions as well as instructions on when to take the potassium iodide tablets.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Time that Nuclear Regulatory Commission paid more attention to external nuclear safety threats

safety-symbol1Flag-USANuclear Plants Should Focus on Risks Posed by External Events, Study Says NYT. By  JULY 24, 2014 Engineers at American nuclear plants have been much better at calculating the risk of an internal problem that would lead to an accident than they have at figuring the probability and consequences of accidents caused by events outside a plant, a report released Thursday by the National Academy of Science said.

Accidents that American reactors are designed to withstand, like a major pipe break, are “stylized” and do not reflect the bigger source of risk, which is external, according to the study. That conclusion is one of the major lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011, which began after an earthquake at sea caused a tsunami.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission calculates which problems are most likely and most troublesome, and aims to find components or systems that should be improved. B. John Garrick, a nuclear engineering consultant and vice chairman of the two-year study, said that engineers had more experience calculating the probability of failure in a valve or a pipe than in predicting earthquakes or floods. Better predictions of such events were possible, he said.

The study, ordered by Congress after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors, said that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the American nuclear industry should focus on the main sources of risk: accidents set off by “extreme external events,” like earthquakes or floods; multiple human or equipment failures; and “violations of operational protocols.”……….

In addition, the study said that safety officials should take into account the reduced capacity and maneuverability of outsiders to help a nuclear plant in trouble after a major earthquake or flood.

The United States should study costs not currently accounted for in making cost-benefit analyses about safety, like the expense of decontaminating areas distant from the plant, which the authors said was another lesson of Fukushima.

Psychological and social costs of evacuation or “sheltering in place,” meaning the confinement of people to homes, should also be considered, the study said, and so should decision-making about resettling people who had been evacuated because of the release of radioactive material.

And if two reactors at the same site had an accident at the same time, the study said that staffing might be inadequate for an event of long duration.

Congress also asked the academy to study the safety of spent-fuel storage,an area of concern since the Japanese accident. In the Fukushima accident, American officials became convinced — mistakenly — that water had drained or boiled from a pool of spent fuel and they urged Americans in Japan to stay 50 miles away. But the academy has not finished that part of its study.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/us/nuclear-plants-should-focus-on-risks-posed-by-external-events-study-says.html?_r=0

July 26, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

New Nuclear Waste Confidence Rule (same nonsense under a new name?)

any-fool-would-know

 

 

the only sane thing is to stop making the stuff

Waste Confidence Final Rule Now Before the Commission http://public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/2014/07/24/waste-confidence-final-rule-now-before-the-commission/  July 24, 2014 Andy Imboden Communications Branch Chief Waste Confidence Directorate

 Waste Confidence 1

After thousands of public comments, dozens of meetings and hundreds of written pages, the NRC Commissioners are now deliberating the draft final rule and draft generic environmental impact statement on the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel – what used to be called “waste confidence.”

Under NRC procedures, and in support of our agency’s transparency and openness goals, we are making three documents including the draft final rule and environmental impact statement available – you can find them on the NRC’swaste confidence webpage:

  • A staff paper, SECY-14-0072: Final Rule: Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel;
  • A draft Federal Register notice on the final rule; and
  • A draft NUREG-2157: Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel – Final Report (GEIS).

To be clear, the draft final rule and draft GEIS are not yet final and are not for public comment. NUREG-2157 includes a lengthy Appendix D that summarizes and responds to more than 33,000 written comments we received when the draft GEIS and proposed rule were published for comment last year. They are “draft final” documents because they need Commission approval before they become final agency action. The Commission may approve, modify, or disapprove them.

Some important points to remember: The final Continued Storage rule represents a generic finding on the environmental impacts of continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed operating life of a reactor. It does not license or approve any storage facility or any nuclear power reactors. The facilities are licensed – or licenses are renewed – based on site-specific application reviews.

The rule is to be used as a part of the overall environmental review for new reactor license applications, current reactor renewal applications, and spent fuel storage facility license reviews in these site-specific proceedings. The GEIS serves as the regulatory basis for the rule, and does not replace the staff’s comprehensive environmental review in individual licensing proceedings.

The name change from “waste confidence” to “continued storage” is just one way the new rule differs from previous versions, including the 2010 version that was struck down by the D.C. Circuit U.S. Appeals Court. (That ruling two years ago prompted the current rulemaking effort.) The name change and other changes are in part due to public comment, and are further explained in the staff paper and the Federal Register notice. The latter also includes an extensive question-and-answer section about the staff’s review and conclusions.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA Senate report: nuclear materials vulnerable to theft

CriminalFlag-USAU.S. Nuclear Material Vulnerable to Theft, Panel Fears http://blogs.rollcall.com/five-by-five/u-s-nuclear-material-vulnerable-to-theft-panel-fears/?dcz= By Tim Starks  July 25, 2014 The Senate Appropriations Committee is perturbed at a whole host of things contributing to large quantities of nuclear and radiological materials — including in the United States — being “still unsecure and vulnerable to theft.”

That’s the word from John M. Donnelly, writing for CQ.com subscribers. He details how the panel, in its fiscal 2015 Energy-Water bill committee report, restores nuclear non-proliferation funding and chides the administration for abandoning a 2025 goal of securing 2,900 buildings, such at medical facilities and universities, where there is “little or no security.”

Also from the committee report, by this author for the Energy Xtra blog, is another nuclear-related buildings issue: the fact that the National Nuclear Security Administration is sitting on 450 unused facilities, and has a maintenance backlog that has made some of the buildings still being used dangerous.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear power plants not prepared for big accidents

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear plants ill-prepared for worst-case scenarios, report says, LA Times,  By MAYA SRIKRISHNAN, 25 JULY 14  THe current approaches for regulating nuclear plant safety in the U.S. are “clearly inadequate” for preventing meltdowns and “mitigating their consequences,” according to a report released Thursday.

U.S. safety regulations traditionally ensure that plants are designed to withstand ordinary equipment failures, power losses and the loss of ability to cool the reactor core — the part of a plant where the nuclear reactions take place. But this is not enough, according to the report by the National Academy of Sciences.

“To what extent are they proactive versus reactive?” said Najmedin Meshkati, an engineering professor at USC who worked on the report. “Complacency and hubris are the worst enemies to nuclear safety.”

The U.S. nuclear industry should prepare for unlikely, worst-case scenarios when designing, building and regulating plants, the report recommends.

That is the big lesson the industry should take away from the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, the report says. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms and situations that seem rare are precisely the events that triggered the world’s three major nuclear disasters: Fukushima, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

The report said the accident at Fukushima — caused by an earthquake, which knocked out power, and a tsunami, which inundated the plant — should not have come as a surprise………..

Officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they were reviewing the report and would provide detailed comments later. http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nuclear-safety-20140724-story.html

July 26, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Shut down Indian point nuclear plant for summer – say environmental regulators

nuke-hotFlag-USANew York environment regulators seek summer shutdown at Indian Point Planet Ark, : 22-Jul-14 Scott DiSavino  New York state environmental regulators are proposing shutting the giant Indian Point nuclear power plant to protect fish in the Hudson River during summer months, when demand for electricity for air-conditioning is greatest…………The DEC said in an email that the proposal, which will be discussed in a public meeting on Tuesday, is similar to what Consolidated Edison Inc did when it owned the reactors and is consistent with the practice of other facilities on the Hudson……

The DEC proposal is the latest salvo in a lengthy battle between Entergy Corp, which owns Indian Point and wants to keep the plant operating for another 20 years, and state environmental regulators, who are seeking to protect fish and other aquatic life.

Indian Point withdraws up to 2.5 billion gallons of water per day from the Hudson to cool equipment, and then discharges that water back into the river  warmer than before.

Environmental groups and the DEC have long argued that Indian Point’s water intake system kills about a billion fish, fish eggs and larvae each year, and the plant should install cooling towers to reduce the use of river water by recycling it…….Before the NRC can grant new licenses, the state must approve water permits. http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/71913

July 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Washington opposition to transport of intensely radioactive liquid waste from Chalk River

radiation-truckFlag-USAChalk River nuclear shipments opposed in Washington, Ottawa Citizen, IAN MACLEOD  July 25, 2014 A New York congressman says the proposed trucking of intensely radioactive liquid waste from Chalk River to the United States could cause a “mobile Chernobyl” in the event of a spill while crossing the border at Buffalo.

Representative Brian Higgins brought the issue to the floor of the House Thursday, calling on the Department of Energy to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) before the contentious shipments are allowed to proceed.

“An EIS provides a roadmap to make informed decisions on proposals and is especially warranted given the volatile substance and significant impact area involved in this case,” Higgins said in a statement.

“Without a comprehensive review and plan, they are setting us up for a mobile Chernobyl,” a reference to the 1986 nuclear accident in Ukraine.

The exact route of the proposed shipments is secret, but one of the most direct would cross the Peace Bridge linking Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo.

Higgins, a Democrat representing western New York State, also has written to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz warning that a major contamination on or near the bridge would have dire health and economic consequences. The Buffalo-Niagara region, “sits along two Great Lakes which represent the largest fresh water supply in the world and serves as the centre point of a 500-mile (800-kilometre) radius that includes approximately 55 per cent of the U.S. population and 62 per cent of the Canadian population.

“It is the responsibility of the Department of Energy and all relevant agencies involved in the process to thoroughly assess the safety of this action.”

The planned armed convoys of trucks are to haul specially-designed steel casks containing 23,000 litres of highly-radioactive liquid to the Savannah River Site nuclear complex in Aiken, South Carolina for down-blending into low-enriched uranium fuel feedstock for U.S. commercial power reactors.

Based on U.S. government documents, it would take at least 179 shipments to move the entire contents over the course of at least a few years. U.S. federal budgetary estimates suggest the shipments would begin next year. None would take place in winter.

If approved by regulators on both sides of the border, it would be the first time authorities have trucked highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in a liquid solution. That has prompted nuclear safety advocacy groups to sound the alarm for greater government scrutiny. They say the weapons-grade HEU should be denatured and the liquid waste disposed of in Canada………

A crucial consideration is understanding the liquid’s unique material characteristics. It is now securely stored in a fortified, in-ground tank at Chalk River and carefully monitored, mixed and warmed to prevent the HEU particles from solidifying and – in a worst-case scenario – potentially achieving a self-sustaining chain reaction of fissioning atoms called criticality.

The energy and heat from such a chain reaction could potentially rupture the tank, release the solution into the environment and endanger anyone nearby. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/chalk-river-nuclear-shipments-opposed-in-washington

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Uranium, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New TV series “Manhattan” explores the age of nuclear power, nuclear weapons

Flag-USANew series ‘Manhattan’ to explore implications of nuclear age NEWS 3 JULY 25, 2014, BY ,  “……MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE SECRET RACE TO CREATE THE FIRST NUCLEAR WEAPONS BEFORE OUR ENEMIES.

Every Sunday night, tune in to WREG as ‘Manhatten’ takes you back to the Cold War and the race for atomic and nuclear weapons.

“At its heart, this is not a show about nuclear physics or even history. This is a show about the complications in the lives of people doing their very best to try and get by in a really complicated circumstance,” said series creator Sam Shaw.

In today’s society, there’s another race involving nuclear material: how to get rid of it, and who should be responsible.

Mississippi is one of several states proposing a nuclear waste facility.

It would store and recycle the dangerous material in the southern part of the state. While the project would bring in lots of cash, environmentalists are worried about the dangers that come with it.

Actor John Benjamin Hickey says the concern shows how much America changed in the last 70 years when nobody even knew about the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

“The fact that we could build a town in the middle of the country and no one knew what we were doing is an interesting look back at our not-so-distant history,” said Hickey.

The set in Santa Fe is actually 45 minutes from Los Alamos where the Manhattan project took place, and before it was turned into a television set, it was a real hospital where some of the scientists, their families and the troops were treated if they had medical emergencies.

Environmentalist fear future emergencies due to possible nuclear waste plant in Mississippi.

The show also focuses on the secrets governments keep, and that’s something producer and director Thomas Schlamme says is still happening…..

“We were just reading the paper today about Wikileaks and Edward Snowden and the NSA and transparency and what you should know and whenever you talk about those things, it leads right back here to the desert in 1943 where all this took place,” said Schlamme.

Series star Daniel Stern also feels the show brings to light questions everyone should at least consider.http://wreg.com/2014/07/25/new-series-manhattan-to-explore-implications-of-nuclear-age/

July 26, 2014 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

text-Please-NoteJoy Thompson’s excellent explanation and advice on this  - sehttp://nuclear-news.net/2014/07/19/6-issues-for-americas-epa-on-radiation-safety-limits/
text ionisingIs EPA About To Relax Radiation Protections From Nuclear Power? Jeff McMahon Forbes, 19 July 14Both proponents and opponents of nuclear power expect the Environmental Protection Agency in coming months to relax its rules restricting radiation Flag-USAemissions from reactors and other nuclear facilities. EPA officials say they have no such intention, but they are willing to reconsider the method they use to limit public exposure—and the public’s level of risk.
 (To see how different risk coefficients result in different standards, compare EPA’s strict standard for drinking water to FDA’s more relaxed standard for food)………

“We want you to know EPA is not proposing any changes to the standards at this time,” said Jessica Wieder of EPA’s Office of Radiation. “We’ve issued theANPR just to solicit public input and information early as we evaluate whether the standards need to be changed at all.”

EPA has concerns about several other deficiencies in the current rule, Littleton said, including:

 Water Resource Protection: When the 1977 rule was written, regulators believed exposure to ionizing radiation was most likely to occur through the air. Since then, EPA has had to grapple with leaks of tritium and other radionuclides into groundwater at nuclear power plants and other facilities.

“In addition to finding groundwater contamination in the vicinity of several nuclear power plants, radioactive contaminants including uranium, strontium, and cesium have been found in groundwater in other uranium fuel cycle facilities,” Littleton said. “These environmental problems could linger on long past the operational phase of these facilities.”

Spent Fuel Storage: When the 1977 rule was written, regulators expected used fuel rods to be stored at nuclear plants for no more than 18 months before being transported to reprocessing plants or a long-term waste depository. Now regulators expect fuel rods to continue to accumulate in increasingly crowded conditions at power plants until at least 2050.

“Since these wastes are stored for much longer duration, there’s a possibility that these wastes could contribute to higher public doses,” Littleton said. ”The agency believes that storage is a covered activity, but if we revise it could be prudent to state that the rule is applicable to long-term storage on site.”

Radionuclides: Because regulators in 1977 expected spent fuel to be reprocessed, the rule specifically restricts radionuclides likely to be emitted during reprocessing: krypton-85, iodine-129, plutonium-238 and other alpha emitters. The U.S. no longer considers reprocessing viable for most existing spent fuel…….

Alternative Technologies: The 1977 rule applies only to the uranium fuel cycle, so it does not apply to facilities that use other fuels, like thorium, and it may not be suited to emerging technologies like small modular reactors, Littleton said.

“Do small modular reactors pose unique environmental considerations, or do existing limits adequately address concerns with small modular reactors?”

The EPA is collecting public comments on the proposed rule revision until Aug. 3. The public may submit comments at regulations.gov.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/07/19/is-epa-about-to-relax-radiation-protection-from-nuclear-power/

July 21, 2014 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

“Going naked” – the nuclear industry’s huge financial risks

Car Recalls, Car Insurance, Nuclear Power And Nuclear Waste, What They Don’t Have In Common http://agreenroad.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/car-recalls-car-insurance-nuclear-power.html
“Going naked” is how the insurance industry describes not having insurance. And when it comes to the worst hazards of nuclear power — America is going naked. Correspondent Miles Benson investigates why the US nuclear power industry is underinsured by hundreds of billions of dollars. He also speaks with Australian physician, author and nuclear industry critic Dr. Helen Caldicott on the health effects of nuclear radiation including cancers, fetal damage and genetic mutation. The video talks about damage and loss costs in the hundreds of billions, when the actual cost is in the Trillions.. Nations that have nuclear power plants are ‘going naked’ due to the potential catastrophic losses from even one nuclear power plant melting down and out, like Fukushima did, multiple times.

Earth Focus Episode 55 – Nuclear Insurance: America Goes Naked

Car Recalls, Car Insurance, Nuclear Power And Nuclear Waste, What They Don’t Have In Common http://agreenroad.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/car-recalls-car-insurance-nuclear-power.html
“Going naked” is how the insurance industry describes not having insurance. And when it comes to the worst hazards of nuclear power — America is going naked. Correspondent Miles Benson investigates why the US nuclear power industry is underinsured by hundreds of billions of dollars. He also speaks with Australian physician, author and nuclear industry critic Dr. Helen Caldicott on the health effects of nuclear radiation including cancers, fetal damage and genetic mutation. The video talks about damage and loss costs in the hundreds of billions, when the actual cost is in the Trillions.. Nations that have nuclear power plants are ‘going naked’ due to the potential catastrophic losses from even one nuclear power plant melting down and out, like Fukushima did, multiple times.

Earth Focus Episode 55 – Nuclear Insurance: America Goes Naked

 

Fukushima Crisis Total Cost $1 To $10 TRILLION Dollars; via A Green Road
http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/06/fukushima-crisis-total-cost-up-to-10.html

 

Via Christopher Hartly Holte Imagine if all car owners did not have to BE insured, and that they were immune from liability for killing people. Is this even possible? In the nuclear industry, it is not only possible, it is the law. Follow Shawn McCarthy on Twitter: @smccarthy55

 Fukushima Crisis Total Cost $1 To $10 TRILLION Dollars; via A Green Road
http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/06/fukushima-crisis-total-cost-up-to-10.html

 

Via Christopher Hartly Holte Imagine if all car owners did not have to BE insured, and that they were immune from liability for killing people. Is this even possible? In the nuclear industry, it is not only possible, it is the law. Follow Shawn McCarthy on Twitter: @smccarthy55

July 21, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Climate Change challenge to Koch brothers – and from other billionaires!

The Billionaire War Heats Up Slate.com 17 July 14 The richest people in America are turning on one another—over climate change.By  Move over, Al Gore. There’s a new wealthy environmentalist whom conservatives love to hate. If you haven’t heard of him yet, meet Tom Steyer…….In a biographical post on his super PAC’s website labeled “accountability,” Steyer says “climate change has not always been on my radar.” In 2012, after founding Farallon Capital Management and running it for more than 25 years (amassing a billion-dollar fortune in the process), he left his post to work on global warming full time.

As the Washington Post reported last year, to reduce his footprint (which is probably still pretty big), Steyer chooses to take the red eye. He doesn’t shy away from the occasional environmental campaign rally, but he’s not about to guilt trip you for not switching out your light bulbs, either. His target is much bigger: the American political process itself.

In response to his efforts to make global warming a major political issue in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections,
Koch-bros-textClimate change challenge tSteyer is fast drawing the ire of the political landscape’s resident oil-money billionaires, the Koch brothers. Their talking point is simple: Tom Steyer is one of us, so lefties should demonize him, too. As Slate’s David Weigel wrote, “Republicans are trying to Koch-ify Tom Steyer in just five or six months.”

Ever since February, when Steyer announced a $100 million campaign to fight climate change, critics have been eager to pick at anything that may tarnish his green label. Steyer’s campaign—$50 million of his own, and $50 million from his super PAC, NextGen Climate—is primarily meant to encourage action on global warming……….

teyer doesn’t dispute that he “was for coal before he was against it.” In an op-ed in Politico on Monday, Steyer explained his about-face from hedge fund capitalist to environmental crusader, in an attempt to set the record straight:

[I]t’s true—Farallon did make fossil fuel investments under my watch. But the more I learned about the energy and climate problems we currently face, the more I realized I had to change my life. I concluded that the best way to align my work with my beliefs was to make a real change—leaving my role managing a firm with investments across the industrial spectrum, and instead joining in the global effort to find a solution to climate change once and for all.

Steyer says that he’s completely divested his personal holdings from the fossil fuel industry as of June 30 though certainly that won’t stop the right from claiming that he’s being hypocritical. But that’s missing the point. It’s not Steyer’s dollars (or even the source of those dollars) that will make the biggest difference but his example of putting his money where his mouth is. In his Politico piece, he offers an incredibly personal description of his epiphany and his decision to dedicate himself to tackling global warming on behalf of his children’s generation. Steyer has done something that’s still far too unusual: He’s admitting he was wrong on climate change and that he wants to rectify it. It’s that kind of honesty that we’ll all need to embrace if we’re to face the steep climb of remaking the global economy into one that isn’t tied to carbon with a full head of steam (or, electrons, as the case may be).

Meanwhile, in a world where money defines political clout, most billionaires aren’t as eager to ruffle the status quo. The few who are stand out. Last month, Steyer joined billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and near-billionaire former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to release a high-profile report on the economic effects of climate change in the United States. That report called for the leaders of the business community to address the growing specter of climate change out of their own self-interest: to avoid economic risk. With their billions in annual revenue as part of the fossil fuel industry, the Koch brothers may want to take note……….http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/07/tom_steyer_koch_brothers_billionaires_are_battling_over_climate_change.html

 

July 21, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

$1.9 million bonus to Mexico nuclear dump operator – 5 days after underground fire!

money-lobbyingOperator of New Mexico nuclear dump reaped $1.9 million bonus after underground truck fire http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/20/operator-new-mexico-nuclear-dump-reaped-1-million-bonus-after-underground-truck/ CARLSBAD, N.M. –  The contractor that operates the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.

The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1nLfPmq) Sunday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an “excellent” job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Some observers say last February’s fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job.

Initial probes by federal regulators into both incidents identified a host of management and safety shortcomings.

The Department of Energy says it is not considering revising or terminating its contract with Nuclear Waste Partnership.

The company has a contract to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant through 2017.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA soil still has radioactive material from Fukushima nuclear disaster

text-radiationFlag-USAFox: Fukushima radioactive material still being found in U.S. soil — Japan Gov’t: The disaster “posed radiation threat to human society”… In 4 days “detectable all across northern hemisphere” — Denmark: Fukushima clearly had widespread consequences, not limited to borders (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/fox-fukushima-radioactive-material-found-arizona-soil-japan-govt-fukushima-release-posed-radiation-threat-human-society-detectable-all-across-northern-hemisphere-4-days-denmark-fukushima-widespr

Danish Emergency Management Agency’s Carsten Israelson, Nordic Nuclear Safety Research’s 2013 Fukushima seminar (at 4:15 in): The accident in Fukushima… clearly showed that there are consequences that are widespread, and is not limited to borders… Nuclear accidents do happen! Nuclear accidents will likely have widespread consequences – for all of us. >> Watch presentation hereNational Institute of Radiological Sciences (Japan), March 3, 2014: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident led to the release of large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. [...] The released radioactive materials posed radiation threat to human society. Thus, source identification of radioactive contamination and long-term environmental behavior of released radioactive materials are important issues of study after the FDNPP accident.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency & University of Tokyo, Apr. 10, 2014: By March 15, traces from the accident in Fukushima were detectable all across the northern hemisphere. By April 13, the associated radioactivity had spread to the southern hemisphere of the Asia-Pacific region and was clearly detectable at CTBT IMS stations located in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Fox 10 News — Phoenix, AZ, July 15, 2014: [Aubrey Godwin, director of Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency] says radioactive material can still be found in Arizona soil from nuclear weapons testing in the 50′s and from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in 2011. Despite that Godwin says there is no health concern.

Watch the Fox 10 broadcast here

July 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, USA | Leave a comment

CT scan radiation cancer risk is reduced by Ohio hospital

CT-scanFlag-USAOhio hospital slashes CT radiation dose — and cancer risk By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer July 16, 2014  By changing its scanning protocols, an Ohio hospital was able to cut by more than half the number of radiation-induced cancers that would have occurred following CT exams. The finding could alter the debate over the risks of medical radiation, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

In the article, a team of researchers led by Michael Rayo, PhD, of Ohio State University described their project to implement new scanning protocols to reduce radiation dose. The group relied on commercially available tools accessible to most U.S. hospitals, such as iterative reconstruction, tube current modulation, and weight-based variable kV.

While taking into account an overall reduction in CT utilization that occurred during the same time period, the researchers calculated that their efforts would lead to a 63% reduction in cancers induced by the CT scans, based on widely accepted data. If the same scenario were repeated widely around the U.S., it could offer a way out of the morass that has engulfed radiology since the radiation dose controversy erupted in 2007 (JACR, July 2014, Vol. 11:7, pp. 703-708).

Rising volume and radiation dose

CT utilization grew steadily in the U.S. from 1998 through 2008, the authors noted. But in 2007, research studies began appearing that raised the specter that thousands of cancers could be caused by medical imaging exams, in particular CT studies. One study postulated that as many as 2% of all cancers in the U.S. could be caused by exposure to CT radiation, while another estimated that some 29,000 cancers could be caused annually by CT use.

The findings have spurred members of the radiology community to find ways to reduce exposure to medical radiation, with two main avenues being pursued: The first includes efforts such as Choosing Wisely, which reduces exposure by eliminating unnecessary imaging exams, while the second involves developing protocols to reduce the radiation dose used in appropriate exams.

Rayo and colleagues decided to study the topic to determine the impact on radiation dose at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a tertiary-care facility in Columbus. They felt that previous research had not addressed the potential effects of dose reduction protocols and utilization declines on cancer risk reduction.

The researchers examined data for both Medicare and non-Medicare patients treated at the hospital on an inpatient basis in the calendar years 2008 to 2012. They examined reimbursement codes for CT scans of four regions: the abdomen and pelvis, head, sinus, and lumbar spine.

To assess the effectiveness of dose reduction strategies, they calculated the average dose-length product (DLP) in 2010 and 2012 (the hospital implemented its dose reduction program in 2011). The group used a sample of patients for each anatomical region and extrapolated the averages to all the patients scanned for that area at the hospital during the study periods.

Finally, the researchers calculated cancer incidence for both the preintervention and postintervention periods based on data from the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report. They divided the estimates into three anatomical regions (estimates were not made for sinus CT due to a small sample size of patients).

They found that overall CT volume grew 21% from 2008 to 2010 and fell by 30% from 2010 to 2012, for a net decline of 15% over the study period. Other changes are shown in the table below. [table in original article]………

Finally, the researchers applied BEIR VII data to calculate how many fewer cancers might develop if all patients were scanned at the lower levels. This translated into an estimated decline of induced cancers from 10.1 cases in 2010 to 3.8 cases in 2012, and a drop in resulting mortalities from 5.1 individuals to 1.9 individuals……….http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=107954

July 21, 2014 Posted by | health, radiation, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

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